Season’s Greetings from California! I hope everyone had a lovely time with family and/or friends and that the pumpkin pie turned out okay. I’ve enjoyed myself thoroughly over the past week, though my pumpkin pie crust got burned. But that’s okay because the chocolate pie turned out great! All other food has been good too – a little too good, perhaps. It all began last Saturday, where through a few turns of luck, fate, and helpful encouragement from a friend, I got some pure alone time, the first in almost three years (!!!). (Having the house all to myself is such an anomaly, I also wrote about the last occurrence, ha!)
While my husband and son were away last weekend, I lived it up with some takeout and pot pie and cake. Wine, too. And lots of TV and sleep. There was time spent outdoors, but all was in the name of self-care and I simply enjoyed having the opportunity to follow my whims without considering other people’s needs. It sounds selfish, but it was necessary. The woman I workout with, Sydney Cummings, always preaches that taking care of our mental health is just as important as working out our physical health. I thought I was doing that by working out, eating well, and going to bed on time. I should have known something was amiss when I tried to steal “away” time for myself by mentally checking-out to do the dishes or clean the bathrooms. Sounds pretty stupid, because how can doing chores be refreshing to the mind?? Alas, this was the mental space from which I was operating, knowing that it all had to be done anyway, so maybe these ten minutes doing the dishes would be ten minutes in which my son wouldn’t notice the impatience in my voice.
But what I learned last weekend is that I need more opportunities for an actual brain break. Just as I take strategic rest days from working out, I need this for my mind, too. I have to honor that I am an introvert and mostly I can maintain my energy levels in ways that include my son. But, every now and then, this means that I will need to be completely alone in order to fully refuel my energy and zest for life. At age five, my son still needs a lot from me right now. It’s the constant, “Mom, mom, Mooooom, MOM!” that wears me down. It’s a slow and steady draining of my patience. Having that time alone was so helpful, because I got to put myself first: doing what I wanted, when I wanted. It’s amazing how much of ourselves we give up and deny when we are busy serving other people.
With renewed mental clarity, I found I was willing and able to serve my family with a joy that hadn’t been there for too long. This was perfect timing for the jam-packed family time that is Thanksgiving break, and I joyfully experienced each day. Work was very low-key and I had great fun with our relatives. I even got to see my family via FaceTime three days in a row, which was a lovely surprise. By Black Friday, I told my husband I planned to spend the next three days recovering from the last two :). And that I did! I’ve been in my little bubble, this time with my son, and we have found our rhythm again. I feel like I am now returning from a vacation: refreshed and ready to start trying at life again.